The Broken Bird (#335)
I got out of my car at
my in-laws’ our new house (it is hard to call it something different after twelve years) and looked into the eyes of a black bird. It was nestled among the roots of a tree, its wings pulled in close to its plump body, tufts of feathers sticking up here and there. It did not move.
I did not move. I thought I saw the bird’s beak peck.
I could move, and I walked into the house to talk to my father-in-law, who was at his kitchen table talking to a contractor. Bathrooms and doorways have to be altered to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs; locks have been put in that Charlie cannot open without the key. There is talk of an addition, downstairs and up: We will be a multigenerational family, with Jim and me the sandwiched generation ferrying walkers, wheelchairs, “choo tube,” Daddy’s blue blanket, extra clothes, for our disabled child and my disabled in-laws.
The contractor told me I could pick up the bird and bring it to the animal shelter which I confess I did not do. Later, Jim told me they heard noises in the garage: The bird had gone in there. The nurse carried it back out while Jim took his dad to visit his mother in the hospital. She started a new treatment on Wednesday.
Jim was sad. “It’s a poor disabled bird.” And he was tired, after rushing from the Bronx to central New Jersey on a day when there were massive transit delays–that is to say, rushing on a day when canceled trains made rushing impossible.
“It’s disability all over.”
I realize I have yet to mention Charlie in this post, despite the fact that this is Charlie’s blog. With so much commotion, transition, and change swirling around him, I am quite prepared for some big behavioral episode that sends the furniture flying.
I believe that Charlie not only understands all the changes going on around him, but that he also understands the gravity of Grandma’s situation. I remember how, after 9/11, my Manhattanite sister-in-law glared whenever too much mention of what had happened was made in the presence of her children. At the time I had thought, they must be hearing about it everywhere, in school and elsewhere, we ought to talk about it—-now, I have been watching what I say when discussing my mother-in-law in Charlie’s presence. I say to Jim “How is she?” and after his quiet response (“well you know”), I change the subject. “Charlie’s sight-reading the at school! Did a whole ABA session today and had a ball.” Pause. (Cell phone noises.) “We went to the store and got sushi, and then he had to sit and wait at Walgreen’s while we got his medicine. He was so good.”
I believe that the broken bird knew that it was broken.
I am not sure I want to look around the yard tomorrow morning.
I am sure I will hear Charlie’s singing voice tomorrow, as he sang this afternoon: Meh-bee spare-row, oooo dood ay, meh-bee spare-row.
For those who will not hear the words
La di da di da di da
La di da di da di da